Medical Ethics PHIL 148 @ Binghamton University, Sum 11


Practice Day, Part 1 (Due: 6/1, Midnight EST)

Note: If you just registered for the class, go back and do yesterday's assignments first.  You can find them here.

Today we're going to cover two types of activities: doing an Initial Comment on the Readings site and Posting to the main course site.  I'm going to do very detailed instructions in case any of you are unfamiliar with the WordPress blog format.  For those of you who are familiar with the format, you won't need most of these instructions, but read them over once just in case.

Keep in Mind: During the Practice Week, I will be reminding you of due dates by posting specific assignments and instructions.  After this first week, however, you are expected to know what kind of assignment you should do doing each day and when it is due.  The Assignments section to the right will always list the current day's  assignments (I update it the night before) as a reminder.  Full assignment details are available in the Learning Packet.

Group Leader Assignments

Each Case Study, News, and Debate Days will have different students as Group Leaders.  I will assign you by the end of the week.  In order to do so, I need you to email your preferences in descending order--the topic you most want to work on at the top, the one you want the least at the bottom.  So, you might list

  1. Patient-Professional Relationship
  2. Health Care and Justice
  3. Euthanasia

Where the Patient-Professional Relationship is your top pick and Euthanasia your least preferred (of course, the one you don't put on the list is really your least preferred).

The four topics are: the Patient-Professional Relationship, Euthanasia, Health Care and Justice, and Abortion.  Please email me your choices by tonight.

Reading Days>Marginalia>Initial Comment

One of the main parts of Reading Days is what is called "Marginalia."  This is simply the technical term for the notes you make in the margin of a book.  On Reading Days, as you read the text, you are going to add your own marginalia for everyone in the class to read.  On a normal Reading Day, Part 1, you will need to make a substantial Initial Comment on three of the readings for the day (details here).  However, for today's practice assignment, you are only going to do one Initial Comment.

To quote the Learning Packet:

. . . comment on a paragraph that you think is particularly important, interesting, or both.  Explain why you chose this particular paragraph and identify any important concepts, premises, or arguments in the paragraph.  If other students have already commented on a paragraph, you may still comment, but make sure to say something new or different either by using the other student's comment as a spring board or by emphasizing a completely different aspect of the paragraph.

You can see an example here.

The goal of this assignment is to focus yourself on picking important information out of the texts and work on understanding that information.  Sometimes this simply means being able to explain and analyze the text.  Other times this will mean connecting it to other concepts in the text or other texts entirely or, perhaps, giving an external example.  Think about how you make sense of a text and translate to an Initial Comment.  On Reading Days, Part 2, other students will comment on and react to these Initial Comments.  However, we'll go over that tomorrow.

For today:

  1. Go to the readings site by clicking the "Readings" link at the top of the site (no link provided here, you have to get used to the layout of the site!).
  2. Click on the first reading, Instructions.  Follow the directions given there (if you didn't do this on the first day of class or earlier).  This will be your first comment on the readings site.
  3. Start reading the assigned texts for today: Introduction, Utilitarianism, Kantian Deontology, Rossian Deontology, Alternative Theories: Virtue Ethics, and Alternative Ethics: Care Ethics and Feminist Ethics.  Yes there is a fairly heavy reading load.  However, the rest of the class you should be able to spread it out leading up to when it is due.  There's nothing that says you can't starting doing an assignment ahead of time.
  4. Finish the readings.  Feel free to make additional side comments along the way.  (Although I recommend reading everything on the first Reading Day each week, if you benefit from a slower pace, feel free to split the readings between the two Reading Days.  Just make sure you finish all the readings by the end of Reading Day, Part 2).
  5. Figure out what paragraph you think is particularly important in one of the assigned readings.
  6. Comment on the paragraph.  See the example above and the grading rubric here.
  7. If you didn't finish the readings before making your comment, finish the readings now (or plan to finish the rest of the readings tomorrow).
  8. Take pride in a job well done.
  9. Stop taking pride and do the next assignment (if you haven't already).


By now you have, of course, done the Profile assignment from the first day of class.  [If you haven't go here and read the instructions listed under "Your Profile."]

We're going to use what you wrote in the Bio section to write your first post for the course site.  Go ahead and go to your Profile following the same steps as yesterday (hint: gray bar at the top of the screen).   I recommend right-clicking (ctrl + click for a Mac) and opening in a new tab or window, so you can keep these instructions open.  Go to your Biographical Info and copy what you wrote.  Once you've done that, go back up to that convenient gray bar at the top of the screen.  Hover your cursor over "Add New" and click "Post" in the menu that drops down.  This will take you to the "Add New Post" page.

The first thing you should do here is make sure you are in the visual editor.  This is indicated by the tabs at the top right of the text editor.  The "Visual" tab should be a darker gray, while the "HTML" tab should be lighter in color.  You shouldn't have any reason to use HTML in this class.  Next, if you don't have two lines of buttons on the editor (one beginning with Bold, the other beginning with Paragraph), press the button on the far right of the row (if you hover over it, it will way "Show/Hide Kitchen Sink") or press Alt+Shift+Z.  Every time you go to create a new post, the editor will now have these settings.

Press the Clipboard/T button (Paste as Plain Text).  This is not actually necessary for this particular assignment, but if you write your posts in Microsoft Word to be on the safe side, you will need this to make sure the formatting of the post is okay.  A pop-up will come up.  Follow the instructions and press "Paste."  Voila!  Your bio info is now in the post.

Write an appropriate title (your choice) in the text box below the word "Edit Post" at the top of the page.

Write a greeting to the class to introduce your bio.

Now, look to the right.  You will see a box that reads categories with a list of options with check boxes.  This makes it easier to search the site.  Whenever you write a post, you will want to add the appropriate categories to it.  So, if you are Group Leader for a Case Study Day in the week on Health Care and Justice, you would check the categories that read "Case Studies" and "Health Care & Justice"--the type of assignment and topic of the week.  This week's category is "Introduction" and the assignment type is "Profile," so go ahead and click the box next to that category.  To bring up all posts of a topic or all posts of an assignment type.  You can click the appropriate link under "Categories" in the side bar (to the right when you are on the site).

When you're done, double check your post for any spelling or grammar errors.  Hit the blue "Publish" button to the right.

You've just posted for the first time.


A lecture on today's reading was posted last night (as it will always be before Reading Day, Part 1).  Please read the lecture.  No comments are required today, but feel free to ask anything you would like.  We will have another lecture on Friday where comments will be required.

Coming Soon

Tomorrow we'll go over commenting on the main site and responses to Initial Comments on the Readings.

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